Former National Sports Authority, board chairman, Kojo Bonsu is advocating for bigger focus on establishing academies in Ghana to help the national team’s talent pool.
Bonsu, who once served as a commercial team manager of Ghana’s senior national team the Black Stars between the late 80s and mid-90s, says the academy system always helps the football development structure.
“We have to take another look at our academies and grow them well so we can bring out players who can play to the highest level and get into the limelight. When these players are playing for the big clubs like Essien and Drogba did it brings attention to our national teams. You definitely will attract teams to come and play you. It also improves the commercial activity and helps make some good money for the team.”
According to the former Black Stars commercial team manager, focusing on the academies will be a long term solution to having the constant production of very good players.
The colts football system which was operated back in the late 80s and 90s gave Ghana different generations of players who played in the Ghana Premier League for some of the big clubs and also made it into the national teams. The evidence of the potency of the colts structure became very glaring when Ghana recorded a chain of good performances at the Under 17 and then Under 21 (now u-20) levels. Ghana won the Under 17 FIFA world Cup in 1991 and 1995 and finished second in the 1993 edition in Japan.
Bonsu, who was a guest on last Saturday’s Joy Sports Link on Joy 99.7fm, thinks remodeling the colts’ league systems to complement the academies will also be ideal so there can be more options for setting the foundations of grassroots football.
“Let’s bring the Colts system back and remodel it to suit current needs and trends and have proper ways of nurturing our talents,” he said.
There are a number of academies scattered across the country who are registered with the Ghana FA and play in the Juvenile leagues it organizes under various age categories.
Ghana’s senior national team has over the years relied heavily on its junior teams at the Under 17 Under 20 and Under 23 teams as feeders, especially when Ghana performs well at the juvenile and youth tournaments. In 2009 for instance most members of the World Cup winning Under 20 side graduated into the Black Stars team.
They include the current captain Andre Ayew, Emmanuel Agyeman Badu and Jonathan Mensah.